WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting WordPress Backup Guide
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) first business to offer managed hosting services specifically for WordPress. WordPress Backup Guide
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in lots of ways -and they have broad name acknowledgment and innovative functions.
With the growth of both self-hosted WordPress and website builders, the hosting industry has actually ended up being a super-confusing place.
I wrote a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. But here’s the short version: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually buying hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service provides a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the website content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a various offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all take on conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
In any case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it is very important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a great deal of WP Engine examines online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s great however I take a different approach. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. WordPress Backup Guide
I have actually utilized WP Engine for different tasks given that 2012. I don’t use them for my main sites today (see conclusion), however I do have an existing client on WP Engine who absolutely loves them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I get referral fees from any companies pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based upon my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much live up to its pitch on its homepage where they guarantee “sensational speed, effective security, and best-in-class customer service.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. WordPress Backup Guide
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that go into site speed, but the guideline is that the more intricate your website is, the more intricate the options to speed ended up being.
Out of package, WordPress is relatively lean and quick. If you are running a mainly text website with a couple of fundamental plugins and a few little images, you’ll be great with a budget friendly shared hosting strategy from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress install lean. There’s usually additional plugins, custom-made style files, great deals of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these functions integrated with good levels of traffic can start to decrease your WordPress set up.
However a sluggish site does not suggest that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a more powerful server, but in some cases it’s more about caching certain resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. To puts it simply, it gets complex.
Imagine you are aiming to haul a trailer with a pickup. Envision your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s pointless to keep complaining that your truck is not big enough when you might just have to remove the emergency brake, install a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain fast as you grow. There are lots of services … however either you or a designer should implement them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine takes care of (nearly) all speed concerns. They have actually customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a typical web host. They also have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the exact chokepoint to obtain your site moving. WordPress Backup Guide
They do not even permit caching plugins on their installs since they have actually such a personalized caching setup.
The fascinating thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform since their platform does the additional work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my clients on WP Engine (who has a bloated theme, extra scripts, a lot of uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough data to start filling the page.
It’s great to have that kind of speed right from the box, and have it stay that method no matter how huge or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get back at much better numbers with WP Engine than you might get with other services since you are free to focus on speed factors that you can quickly control like image compression, usage of scripts, and so on.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not only supplies an integrated CDN, but they likewise supply international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. WordPress Backup Guide
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support WordPress Backup Guide
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch considering that they were founded. After all, they are truly selling more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to position a huge emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from one of my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & altered a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough thing about customer support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, however you never understand if the story is because they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I discuss in every hosting review, the fundamental part is to see if a business treats support as an investment or an expense.
I like to try to find access, systems, and knowledge, all three need a financial investment of money, time and knowledge.
Based on my recent interactions and research study, they are doing better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a quickly, trackable ticketing system and are readily available everywhere on the site via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my client has communicated with really understood the great workings of WordPress and has had the ability to problem-solve on the fly.
The most impressive (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call in between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The representative was not only able to get on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to expertly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to taking care of numerous problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. WordPress Backup Guide
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support problems,specifically because their customized platform puts a great deal of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the disadvantages). But they seem to know that support is core to their worth and do make the required investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a huge community releasing updates & testing vulnerabilities.
If you run your very own WordPress install, the security basics are relatively straightforward:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the commercial arm of WordPress.
You’ll see that even though security on WordPress is straightforward, the responsibility is still on you to keep things protect. Just like having a deadbolt does nothing if you do not lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (rather than an account), they take on a lot of security concerns globally on the server level.
WP Engine also works carefully with top security firms on code evaluations in addition to running their own team. They also make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have never ever been hacked on my primary/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped customers who have been. It’s discouraging, laborious & a typically costly scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having a professional security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. WordPress Backup Guide
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and includes a single set up and only up to 25,000 visits each month.
For benchmarking, you can get an effective, trusted VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the exact same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for just a couple dollars per month.
Both of which enable more storage & more check outs (ie, generally as lots of as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run sites that have had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I have actually also run lots of little WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates drawback in the cons of WP Engine, but here’s the thing.
For some site owners, if you break out WP Engine by total value & consider your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around Thirty Minutes on a monthly basis. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin update, then that could be WP Engine’s whole month-to-month cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you do not utilize a staging area) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s entire monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime expenses lost earnings.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any individual or developer time fixing problems.
Basically, if your time is better designated away from technical concerns, then WP Engine makes a great deal of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are an investment instead of an expense.
And that sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. WordPress Backup Guide
Like I stated at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everybody. There are 3 types of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of customers, WP Engine has a strong focus with lots of tools & focus for each.
From their backend procedure, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress designers and designers who wish to focus on development & design without handling hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev constructs the website directly in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the website, then hands the website over to their customer.
The designer can assure their customer that WP Engine manages the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for an ongoing fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has intriguing tools consisting of staging, git push, site migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at having to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re likewise developed enough that they have some spending plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & consumer support to make that process take place. The phone support is a crucial aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a startup site owner that has the spending plan and wants a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfortable discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on introducing a near-complete website all at once.
They don’t have any previous practices or custom-mades brought over from previous hosts or websites. Again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, customers, and support that they can make guarantees and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these kinds of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the enhancements they make are focused on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, intuitive backend, and so on.
This advantage is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, however it’s actually worth calling out in this evaluation revision. WordPress Backup Guide
WP Engine excels not only on present features but likewise on creating new, advanced hosting functions. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented brand-new designer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web development finest practices have actually changed radically because I began observing the market *. WP Engine has developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I understand enough web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & projects with developers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best suitable for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine complaints around the Web. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs complaining about dev websites). And many are valid since they simply aren’t a fit for everyone. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being a great fit for some clients. I don’t utilize them for this site since I do not require much of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. WordPress Backup Guide
All that stated, here are some of the bigger picture drawbacks of using WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To accomplish the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be quite made complex– especially if you have just adequate experience with hosting environments to be unsafe.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, but it’s still custom-made. It’s nothing like a traditional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike numerous hosting companies, they likewise do not offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the features are there, the special backend can lead to some developers making mistakes ranging from frustrating redirect loops to replicate content problems to leaving the dev website open to the public or just not making it possible for the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more newbie consumers than they already do.
Like many customized platforms, it makes good sense once you overcome the learning curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is really developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever discuss finest practice for the basic user. WordPress Backup Guide
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I’ve set up my share of sites from platforms to custom-made hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I had to see that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the ideal IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the custom-made backend isn’t going to be a substantial offer (once you surpass the learning curve). However for many, you’ll likely get to discover very first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the thing.
WP Engine never ever really stops being eccentric and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of website lists to assist repair all sorts of concerns.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons why they do all this. And in many cases, support will simply take care of everything.
But, you still don’t get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In lots of hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyway, when you do, the knobs and buttons recognize. WordPress Backup Guide
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of lowering & increasing complexity.
This con is also associated with WP Engine’s distinct setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform have to be somewhat uniform.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; foreseeable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to specify what you can and cannot have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage pricing to prevent seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage usage.
They do ban specific plugins & admin behavior for excellent reasons, but those bans restrict adaptability and experimentation if your website could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a typical plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller sites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s not good or bad always. But it does make WP Engine less flexible and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The way their prices is structured allows for less versatility too. It’s a positive that they will handle all the traffic you can send, but it’s likewise expensive to pay based upon a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to aspect extra hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you want to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on an Individual or Company. And this point goes even more if your site needs numerous plugins for full functionality.
The same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t truly do automated e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got required & wound up needing to do an uncomfortable migration to another e-mail company mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I found with WP Engine, their prices based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not needing to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you take a look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the functions you’re getting, you actually do not get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will think about your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress updated and generally visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is superfluous. WordPress Backup Guide
Many shared hosting servers can manage the exact same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My personal website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with fundamental caching) managed more than 15,000 check outs in a 24 Hr period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a trustworthy VPS, you can definitely handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count gos to, however it can still be quite a surprise for “small” website owners how quickly they can enter into the $290 each month tier.
And as pointed out previously that does not even include a lot of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s plans. You can’t run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limitations on local storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical implementation of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a few side tasks or low-traffic test sites, you need to factor those into the price. You can’t use them to expand the cost of your plan,especially if you are striking your visitor cap instead of your install cap.
If you are aiming to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your site files, WP Engine is a costly alternative, particularly compared to other non-managed hosting options.
Like any service, it’s not about what is best overall, however what is best for you based on your goals, budget plan, resources & routines.
If you are in exactly what I think of as WP Engine’s core markets, they use an excellent service with a strong item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they use more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not wish to stress over hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a suitable for you, then go check out WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you think of their backend. Be sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better prices than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve appreciated their balance of user-friendly backend & responsive customer support.
And lastly, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting test. I put all these factors into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. WordPress Backup Guide